Birmingham, AL – Birmingham Police Department Sergeant Wytasha Carter was murdered in the line of duty early Sunday morning, after he responded to a call for assistance from an undercover officer investigating a rash of vehicle break-ins.
The incident occurred at approximately 2 a.m. outside the Four Seasons Bar and Grill, when an undercover officer saw two suspects checking the doors on parked vehicles outside the business, FOX News reported.
The officer radioed for backup, and Sgt. Carter, 44, responded to the scene, according to The Birmingham News.
“The officers approached one suspect and patted him down where they found what they believed to be a weapon,'' Birmingham Police Chief Patrick Smith said. “They asked him about it, he armed himself and fired upon our officers.”
The attack unfolded rapidly, Chief Smith said.
"What I can tell you is it appears our officers were unable to respond,'' he explained. “They were taken completely by surprise. We can’t go into great detail because we are still in the infancy stage of the investigation.”
Sgt. Carter and the unnamed officer were rushed to the UAB Hospital’s Trauma Center, where the sergeant later passed away.
The second officer remains hospitalized.
“Both of them were shot in very critical areas,” Chief Smith said.
The suspect, who was wounded during the altercation, was also transported to the trauma center.
His condition was not immediately known.
A second suspect was placed under arrest, and there may be a third suspect who is still on the loose.
“We’re not absolutely certain right now if we have one outstanding suspect but we have other possibilities and the investigation is ongoing,” Chief Smith said.
"This is one of the roughest hours of your career,” Chief Smith said. “There’s not a chief, not an officer that ever wants to have to deal with this. This is a very, very difficult thing for the family, and for the department.”
"Each and every day the men and women of the Birmingham Police Department do everything that we can to try to address crime within the city,” he said. “We do everything that we can to try to protect and serve the people of the city of Birmingham with pride with respect. We do everything we can to keep everyone safe.”
The Alabama Bureau of Investigation is leading the investigation into the incident with the assistance of officers from all of the Birmingham Police Department’s precincts, as well as the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office and Bessemer police.
Birmingham Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) President Sergeant Heath Boackle described Sgt. Carter as a “class act,” and said he was a beloved officer.
“Everyone thought very highly of him,” Sgt. Boackle told WBMA. “It’s a tragedy…He was very proud to be at this department.”
Sgt. Boackle said it is Sgt. Carter’s character will be remembered most.
“He worked very hard as a supervisor with this department. And it even shows – being a sergeant and being out in the field with the troops – just goes to [show] the kind of character he really was,” he said.
Sgt. Carter was promoted to the rank of sergeant just 11 months ago, and leaves behind his wife and children.
Sgt. Carter, a U.S. Air Force veteran, served with the Leeds Police Department, the Fairfield Police Department, and the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office prior to joining the Birmingham Police Department, according to the Officer Down Memorial Page.
He brought nine years of law enforcement experience with him when he was hired in Birmingham, and served his department for another eight years.
During his time with the Birmingham police department, Sgt. Carter worked in various assignments, including serving as a school resource officer, WAFF reported.
“Our law enforcement officers – not only in this city, but across the nation – do a lot when they put on these uniforms and go to work,” Sgt. Boackle told WBMA. “A lot of times, it’s just taken for granted of what law enforcement officers actually do on a day-to-day basis.”
“We’re human, too…we have emotions…we have feelings,” he said. “Just because we put a badge on our chest doesn’t make us any more or any less human.”
Our thoughts and prayers are with the family of Birmingham Police Department Sergeant Wytasha Carter, both blood and blue. Thank you for your service.
Sergeant Carter, your life mattered.